Dick Coury, longtime Mater Dei High, college and pro football coach, dies at 91

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, talks to former coach Dick Coury in 2013.
(Aaron Kehoe / Associated Press)

Dick Coury, a former football coach at Cal State Fullerton and Santa Ana Mater Dei High who also enjoyed success coaching for several decades in the professional ranks, died Saturday, according to an announcement from Lake Oswego High in Oregon, where his son, Steve, is head coach. He was 91.

Born Sept. 29, 1929, Coury grew up in Athens, Ohio, where he played quarterback. He went to Notre Dame and began coaching at Mater Dei, where he was 85-9-5 as head coach from 1957 to 1965 and coached future Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte. He was defensive coordinator for John McKay at USC in 1967 when the Trojans went 10-1 and finished ranked No. 1.

Coury was the first head coach at Cal State Fullerton in 1970 and was the coach when assistants Bill Hannah, Dallas Moon and Joe O’Hara died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara in November 1971. They were on their way to San Luis Obispo to scout their next opponent. A month later, the Titans defeated Fresno State in the Mercy Bowl, a benefit for the families of the coaches.

Coury later was an assistant coach in the NFL for 30 years, coaching with Dick Vermeil. Among the stops Coury had were with the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Oilers. He was head coach of the Boston Breakers in the United States Football League and named USFL coach of the year in 1983. He retired in 1999 to become a scout.


Former Oaks Christian High coach Bill Redell was a good friend. He said Coury gave him his first coaching job at Fullerton in 1970 and later with the Breakers.

“He was a great football coach, a great guy. It’s a big loss,” Redell said.